Suffolk puts cash into drug driving fight

Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore  and roads policing officer PC Paul Fletcher with a giant drug wipe replica
Suffolk PCC Tim Passmore and roads policing officer PC Paul Fletcher with a giant drug wipe replica
Share this article

Suffolk Police has stepped up its drug driving campaign with a £120,000 investment in drug wipes.

The drug wipes will enable the police to continue their campaign to identify those driving under the influence of drugs and test them at the roadside,

The increase in drug testing comes after Suffolk’s constabulary, police and crime commissioner and county council – key partners on Suffolk’s Roadsafe Board – agreed to invest £120,000 to support the campaign.

It will pay for roadside wipes and the follow-up forensic testing which is more expensive than the breathalyser tests. Each single use drug wipe is £18 and each laboratory test costs about £220.

So the funding will buy more than a 1,000 kits and more than 400 forensic tests on positive samples.

Officers can use the drug wipes to take a saliva sample. This roadside test can detect cannabis and cocaine which are the drugs most commonly used. If positive, the driver is taken into police custody and a blood sample is taken.

Police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “All drivers need to understand that drug – and drink – driving risks lives and the lives of others, it is grossly irresponsible and selfish.”

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, head of the joint roads policing and firearms operations unit, said: “Drug wipe kits are an invaluable resource for our officers.”

Between April and October, 1,050 kits were used and 331 were positive.

He added: “Anyone convicted of the offence could face up to six months in prison and a criminal record, receive a minimum one year driving ban and an unlimited fine.

“The penalty for causing death by dangerous driving under the influence of drugs is a prison sentence of up to 14 years.”